Row. Row. Row your boat….

I row. And row. And row.

I work three jobs. I have to make money.Sure, I paid off all my credit card debt, but I still owe someone, something. I must have insurance. I must have money to give if someone needs something. I want to travel to Denver. I need to buy a new bed. I need to buy a bicycle. I have to go to the doctors. I need. I want. I have to. I must.

So I row and I get up before 4am and work until almost 7 at night and am in bed by 10, sometimes 8, unless I am swept into another late night conversation. Somewhere in the in between I meet with friends for intentional accountability. I pour into the lives of young women. I try to be Christ to those “in the world”. I read. I write. I try to eat better. I try to work out more. I try to have “quiet time”.

I row. And row. And row. My oars seem to be attached to my calloused hands.

It’s not very “gently down the stream” either. There are relationships that have been neglected. I don’t answer all my calls or texts. I’m so busy. They have to understand. If they only knew what I was really going through. But I can’t tell them. They need to talk to me about them. I can’t talk to my mentor about it. I’ve avoided her for months. Plus I don’t have time for me. I emotionally shut down. I lash out and focus in. I analyze until I am paralyzed. I can’t take a day off for rest. I can’t take care of myself, that’s selfish.

I row. And row. And row.

Two or so years ago God gave me a big dream.

He must be talking to me about someone else. I’m too much. I’m not enough. I won’t handle success right. I’ll fall into lust again. I’ll mismanage my money. People will think I am crazy. I’ll be rejected. I can’t do this. I’m too broken. Too hurt.

But God, look at all I do now. Doesn’t it make you happy? I’m in ministry, I live beneath my means, even beneath my potential. Yes, I am tired. Yes, exhausted. Yes, I am only giving others my drips from an empty cup that should be filled and overflowing. Yes, I’m hiding out. But, God.

If I am going to move forward? How can I do it?

That’s it. Add MORE. Do more.Work more. Save more. Give more. Be more. More. More. More. Row more!!

So I row. And row. And row. Faster. More.

And as I start to feel a fresh old familiar wind at my back, it starts moving me forward.

But, I’m confused. Clutching my oars, I row more. Faster. More.

Gently and sweetly, He raises the sails and says, “Jules, put your oars down.”

What?

“Jules, put your oars down.”

But, God, can’t you see, I’m moving myself  forward. Gripping tighter.  I row more. Faster. More.

“Jules, put your oars down. Can’t you see? You’re on a sail boat.”

But God.

“Put them down…”

But I have to…

“Put them down…”

But I need to…

“Put them down….”

But…

“Jules… I’m moving you forward.”

Happy New Year !!

Okay, Okay I know that January is almost over.

Happy New Year !

Have you ever had a feeling like, this is my year…..this is it, MY year?

I have that feeling, and it’s exhilarating.

And the best part about it is that there are no New Year’s  resolutions, no lofty to do lists, no unrealistic expectations, no self-perpetuated stress.

And guess what? It’s been the best January yet.  At the end of the month, I am just as encouraged and motivated as I was in December.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have goals, and I have been moving forward on my Big Dream. But it’s not forced or manipulated.

When your have to’s become your want to’s, there is freedom.

How true is that in our spiritual life too?  When we keep the laws with a motivation of love, and not performance based works, or guilt or obligation or shame. So much freedom.  And “good” works flow from that, not from striving or achieving.

I’m glad that this year, I have been blessed with a better grasp on Grace.

I know it’s slightly out of context. But this verse further encouraged me today.

2 Corinthians 8:8-12
I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

With readiness to desire it, and moving forward to completion,

Julie

Giving Thanks I have a job Nov11

Today was an insane day, Starbucks training in Boca, then off to Urban Youth Impact…..but I was reminded of my purpose.

 

Today, I am thankful to have a job. With such an unstable economy, and being hired in during one of Starbucks most turbulent times, I am thankful.

 

It’s not much. Not even 20 hours most weeks since I have been there for the past 2 months. It’s the least I have made in over 12 years. The tips in cash each week are just enough for me to get gas to and from work, and my check is finally almost enough to cover my bills.  But soon I will have medical dental and optical for the first time in almost 2 years. And it’s a great company to work for. 

 

In training today I had to answer “Who would you have coffee with, and why?”

 

“Phil Knight – founder of Nike… because I want to talk to him about my dream…..”

 

During our break I had a few people ask me to elaborate, and I did, I got to share my purpose… and as I write this I am reminded that for now, this is just my manna on the way to my promised land….

 

It’s meant to be my “What is this” just enough for today – don’t hoard for tomorrow. Keep one foot in front of the other, keep focused on the goal, don’t get comfortable. Be obedient. God is providing on the way there.

 

Today I am thankful that God is my provider. Not my plans, not my schemes and that after having my application on file for a year and a half, Starbucks called me, and that He shines through me there.

 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth.  

 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’

For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Jesus (Matthew 6)

The BIG Dream… part 2

It’s pathetic that it’s been three months since I’ve written on this…

All summer I said to myself, and to my faithful and frustrated friends,

“When I have time to work on it, then I will….”

 

For the past year I would say that I have been stuck in the “when….. then…..” trap

When my debt gets paid off, then…..

When I work less hours, then….

When I make more per hour, then….

When I believe in me, then….

When more people who don’t know me start believing in me, then…..

When the people who know me an believe in me get so frustrated with me about being all talk and no action that they don’t want to talk to me about it, then…..

When I feel the conviction of the Spirit again, then

When the Spirit stops convicting me and I freak out about my delayed obedience, then

 

When When When When When, THEN….

 

My “then” is now…. And you no what?

None of the “whens” that have trapped me have happened… And I see now that if and when they did… they would quickly be replaced by some other “when, then” that I would hide behind in fear.

 

Talk to me, I know you’re reading. And I know I’m not the only one who was trapped by her “When, thens”

What are your goals?

What do you know or think that God asking you to do?

What are your “When, thens” that have trapped you?

Are you ready to choose faith over fear?

The BIG Dream….

Thanks to a Bible Study last night where we talked about how God’s creation praises Him by simply doing what it was created to do paired with some extra motivation, and just the fact that if I don’t, I never will …. I am letting the cat completely out of the bag..

I haven’t answered the questions when asked what it is….

I have avoided talking about it, even though when I am excited about it I have a fire in my bones…

I have eluded to this, and if you have read all of my “old writings” you know what this dream is….

I have been thinking about this since April of 07, and writing about it in a separate blog since last June…

 

Ohh how my noodle twirls ..
I am going to market myself to Nike .. I want to be a spokesperson for them, and be a public speaker…

I want it to be my platform to let people know that they were created to live a full life … not to be stuck in fat and being unhealthy… I can see it – and I can visualize it –

Here’s the thoughts behind it…
Ok – so Dove has been doing the real women campaign.. they are getting major PR points from it – and it’s been amazing for them – and then there is the subway Jarrod guy – again just a regular person who has redeveloped a brand — not to even touch the obesity statistics in our country… we are being robbed of our lives..

So my thought is that if Nike’s slogan is “Just do it” – What is the thing that keeps women (and men, and children) in this country unhealthy ?

NOT DOING IT…
We don’t need fad diets and we don’t need a magic pill, and we sure as heck don’t need studies telling us that weight gain is all genetic -This all came about Kristen and I were walking on the beach…. we were making all of these plans to bike this many miles a day to the beach, and then walk for x amount of miles, then bike….. and classic Kristen… she says “Dude, you need to just do it”..

We need to JUST DO IT – we know that broccoli is more healthy than chocolate and that salad is better than pizza and that even just walking for an hour is better than sitting and watching TV ..
It would be pictures of me, and journals, videos as I am losing weight ….. something like below…
No excuses – Just do it
No fad diets – Just do it
Nothing Holding you back – just do it  and so on and so on and so on

I tried contacting Nike and they deferred me to their ad agency – and their ad agency dumped me in some fake voice mail that they won’t take any outside ideas .. I have some ideas on how to get it out there… but again I need to stop talking about it and Just Do It!!

With or without Nike involvement – I have still been inspired and called to action…
I am going to continue lose all of my extra weight anyways so why not communicate to and encourage others to do the same??

 

WHY??

“I believe that if Jesus can save the world from sin, he could surely help me lose my rear end.” – Dana Littleton 

Let’s try some honesty shall we?

This isn’t just about fat vs. skinny… this is about life.. and living..

I want to live the life that I know that I was created not born, not raised, not wanted to, CREATED to live… and I want you to live that life too… I want to encourage and inspire and communicate…

I want to be able to play the sports I love to play, but I don’t because I can’t keep up, or am out of breath way before other people are even warmed up…

I want to not have to pretend to that I don’t like roller coasters because I am afraid of whether or not the seat belt will shut right…

I want to go into a store and buy an outfit because it’s cute and looks good on me – not just because it’s the only thing that fits..

I want to be able to walk into a restaurant and not analyze the seating arrangement, not nudge the table away from me and not hide inside my thoughts thinking that everyone is judging me on what I decide to eat or drink…

I want to… do a cartwheel… go kayaking… climb a mountain, or at least a really big rock… run on the beach… get a piggy back ride…

I want to see the captives set free… and I want to sing songs of joy and songs of victory with them…

Please continue to pray for me… I know that this idea is from God, and I have not been faithful, actually I have been quite lazy about it… 

Whew….. Let’s see what happens shall we?

Julie

Dream BIG…

We have a “D.R.E.A.M.pledge” acronym at Urban Youth Impact we say with the kids when they are at the Dream Center… everyday…

It starts with “Dream Big”…  we want every student to know that God has a plan and purpose for their life, and that they should dare to Dream Big, beyond the shadows of sin that are cast on their lives from others bad choices…

About two weeks ago I started feeling like a hypocrite, actually in February after a staff retreat the feeling started but with a  crazy emotional funk I was in, I didn’t realize it.

So we tell the kids to Dream Big everyday…. and I have been dreading them asking me what my dream is, because it is a big one, and I haven’t been faithful.

In one week I celebrated the ministry anniversaries of both of my “bosses” -10 years for  Lewis Nelms, founder of Gospelink, and 20 years for Bill Hobbs, founder of Urban Youth Impact .

For a week I was surrounded by celebration of God’s faithfulness and provision as these men walked in faith and obedience to the call on their lives. Stories of lives changed beyond what we can see.  I was overwhelmed and inspired. Encouraged. Spurred on, and reminded of my dream that I have put on the back burner.

I have been so afraid to tell people about my dream, and I am so sick of myself for making decisions or holding myself back because I am convinced of what other peple will think. Which in my mind is never good – terrible actually.

I didn’t want people to think that  I don’t love being “Miss Julie”.. because I do. I love seeing when one of the girls actually “gets it”, I love the hugs and laughter, drying the tears,  I even love when the kids hate me because I know they know better, and hold them to a higher standard.

I love it. But it’s not my dream.

So I decided to tell Bill about it.   I was so nervous talking to the man whose ministry I am planning on coming on full time missionary staff with. I was so afraid, I think I even just blurted it out – inhale, speak, and there it was. And Bill’s eyes lit up…  He didn’t think that I was saying I wanted to leave Urban Youth Impact, He didn’t think I was crazy, He didn’t think that I was a bad Christian for what my dream is. He embraced me, literally and figuratively.

I am starting to really believe that my dream can and will be a reality. It’s not about success as much as it is about faithfulness….

I know that I will regret it for the rest of my life for wasting what I feel God has given me…

So here I am – dreaming big, and making dreams my reality.